I grew up with Chihuahuas. They were all slightly neurotic, absolutely adorable, and categorically alpha females. Chihuahuas come with their own set of personality issues, and it seems like unless they’re raised with other dogs they don’t always play well with others. This is a generalization I realize, but that’s been my experience. A couple of the Chihuahuas in particular went absolutely bat-scat crazy if they ever heard or glimpsed another dog.
Later, I adopted Tessa, a wonderful female mutt (supposedly a Chihuahua-Dachshund-Beagle mix) who was the love of my life. Tessa was definitely an alpha female, although she did okay with some dogs (mostly males). She was quick to go after other females that invaded her space or just looked at her wrong. Tessa and my dad’s Pug, Daphne, got into a horrible fight one time that left one dog with a bleeding ear and the other with a bloody paw. Later, they learned to ignore each other, carefully avoiding eye contact as they gave each other wide berth while passing in the hallway.
Then we adopted Chase, our retired racing male. He is most definitely an alpha male, but it’s interesting to see the way he displays that trait. He can be aggressive with barking and posturing if he’s on the other side of a fence from another dog, but when he’s actually in the presence of another male, other than a growl or two, he never shows any desire to bite or enter into a fight. The clearest sign of Chase exerting his alpha male stance was once when we took him to some friends’ house where there were seven other greyhounds—one of which was clearly the alpha male of the pack. Chase immediately lifted his leg and peed on their couch. Ugh.
Now we have Trinity, our little Italian greyhound, and although she has some food aggression, she is very passive when it comes to other dogs. I’ve never had a submissive female, so it’s interesting to watch her immediately back down and shy away whenever Chase grumbles a warning for her to move away from his bed or bone.
(Trinity--our crazy, funny, submissive girl)
Just like humans, our canine companions all come with different personalities and different ways of showing their idiosyncrasies.
For other dog owners out there, is your dog an alpha or a submissive?